An ongoing program is aiming to help feed the homeless of the Illawarra, while also keeping hospitality workers employed.
National charity against homelessness, StreetSmart Australia, has launched its Winter Appeal, aiming to provide 5000 meals to people at risk or experiencing homelessness this winter through its SmartMeals program.
SmartMeals partners with cafes and restaurants to provide subsidised meals for homeless community groups. Wollongong's Lower East Cafe is participating in SmartMeals, providing meals for Wollongong Emergency Family Housing.
Owner Sateesh Krishnayya said they had been participating for the past couple of months, preparing 40 meals per day on each weekday.
"We see our cafe as very much a part of the community here, and we just see this as an extension of the community," he said.
"We do a variety of hot dishes and gourmet sandwiches for them... We try to keep it pretty hearty and nutritious, especially during these colder months.
"It's also been a good chance during the COVID lockdown and all the restrictions to have a little more work for our kitchen team."
Mandy Booker, general manager of Wollongong Emergency Family Housing said the cafe's meals had been of "tremendous value to support the increased demand" WEFH has experienced lately.
"Being able to have the community supporting each other at this time again demonstrates that collaboration is the key to successfully working our way back from this recent health crisis," she said.
The Winter Appeal campaign is running from June 1-30.
You can also donate directly to aid the cafe's participation in the program at https://donorbox.org/smartmeals-lowereastcafe.